Dante’s Inferno Essay


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Dante’s Inferno is the most well-known and influential work of the thirteenth century. Dante’s Inferno is not a simple story of his journey through Hell. He depicts Hell with a very vivid picture and description. Dante’s Inferno is one part of the Divine Comedy. The Divine Comedy contains very realistic and frank concepts of the politics, religion and culture of Italy in the late thirteenth and early the fourteenth centuries. This paper develops the most salient political, cultural, and theological elements of Dante’s Inferno, what he wants to tell about his values through his book, and how the book represents western European Mediterranean culture around 1300. . In this time period, Italy was in political chaos. It lacked a stable and secure government.


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Dante uses numbers 1,3,9(3), 10,(31), 100(10). There are three animals, 100 Canti Jesus. Among the numbers ‘10’ is the perfect number in Christianity. Dante may want to express the heaven after the nine circles, thus heaven will be the tenth circle. In addition, there are many references to the Bible and Christian theology. For example, in the First Circle of Hell, there are spirits of those who lived virtuously but without Christianity. Dante thinks that the lack of Christianity is also a sin. “The good Master to me, “Thou dost not ask what spirits are these that thou seest. Now I would have thee know, before thou goest farther, that they sinned out; and if they have merits it sufficeth not, because they had not baptism, which is part of the faith that thou believest; and if they were before Christianity, they did not duly worship God: and of such as these am I myself.” (Canto IV).


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Theological element of Dante’s Inferno is the belief of the Holy Trinity by using numbers such as 1,3,9,10,100. Also, he borrowed and used references to the Bible and Christian theology. We also can guess the culture and social aspect in 1300. At that time period, simony prevailed all over Europe and the pope’s status was very powerful. Through the book, Inferno, Dante wants to articulate his thought of treachery. He determines that he would not commit treachery because of temptation by his own desire. Dante’s Inferno was the most experimental work in the thirteenth century. His book implies political, religious and cultural elements in the thirteenth century.


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